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Dry mouth, wellness and panel test, AST and ALT elevated slightly. Meaning?

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Practicing since : 2000
Answered : 339 Questions
Hello Doctor:
I am a 36 year old male, 5'-9" tall and 178 lbs.
I have been experiencing dry mouth for the last three weeksand decided to get a wellness panel test done.
I just got the results, everything came back normal, the only two flags that it has are the ALT and AST levels.
AST: 67
ALT: 122
I drink socially, weekends only and the tests shwoed that I am negative for all the Hepatitis.
I would like to know how high thos levels are and what do they mean??
Can that be the cause of my dry mouth symptoms?
I didnt drink at all for two weeks and a half prior to taking the test.

Thank you
Posted Fri, 27 Apr 2012 in Liver and Gall Bladder
Answered by Dr. Poorna Chandra K.S 11 hours later

Thanks for your query.

AST and ALT elevation are suggestive of liver inflammation. In your case these are mildly elevated.

The extent of elevation depends on whether it is 1) acute or long standing and 2) Disease is liver specific or liver is involved as a part of generalized disease.

Alcohol causes chronic ongoing liver damage and is usually associated with mild to moderate elevations only. Alcoholic hepatitis can be brought on even with 20g of alcohol and takes a long time to settle even after you are totally abstinent. Taking alcohol once you have hepatitis hastens the damage and can lead to permanent liver damage. Hence completely quit alcohol and have a high protein nutritious diet.

Dry mouth is not related to AST and ALT. I think it is because of inadequate hydration.

I hope I have answered your query.

I will be available for further queries if any.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Dry mouth, wellness and panel test, AST and ALT elevated slightly. Meaning? 2 days later

Thank you for your your response, I have a few more questions.

After I sent my query, I went thru the last medical records and found my last physical tests done back in January, 2011, with the following results:

AST 30 Reference 7-36
ALT 41 Reference 4-45
GGT 116 Reference 8-67

As you can see the AST and ALT were in normal range only five months ago, but the GGT was high, I don't know what the GGT is now since the wellness panel I did a few weeks ago didn't include it.

I didn't increase my alcohol intake in those five months so it is really troubling for my to see this increase in those levels, what is your opinion about that?

I am planning to get another test panel done by the end of this week and by then it will be 4 weeks without having any alcohol, do you think that the levels should be better by then?

Thank you

Answered by Dr. Poorna Chandra K.S 13 hours later

Thanks again.

GGT is a marker of oxidative stress in the body and can be elevated during drug or alcohol use and infection.

GGT is infact used as a marker to detect recent alcohol intake.

As I had said earlier AST, ALT elevation secondary to alcohol intake may take months to settle but a follow up test will surely help.

Hope I have answered your query.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Dry mouth, wellness and panel test, AST and ALT elevated slightly. Meaning? 7 days later
Hi Doctor,

I got the lab results and are very troubling for me, I will se the Doctor probably next week depending his availability, but I am really concerned.

As i told you last time these latest tests were taken after avoiding alcohol for 4 weeks.

AST 33 reference interval 0-40
ALT 57 reference interval 0-55
GGT 144 reference interval 0-65

As you can see AST and ALT went down almost to acceptable levels but GGT has gone up.

I have been reading a lot and I am concerned about permanent liver decease, since a lot of sites say that GGT is more suggestive of alcohol use than the ALT and AST which would be consistent with my case.

I am planing to request my Doctor for an ultrasound, what is your opinion for that?
I understand they use it to diagnose mostly fatty liver, but would that rule out cirrhosis or permanent liver decease?

Of course I am planning to stay away from alcohol, but now I am concerned it is too late.

I still have the dry mouth symptoms and I am feeling some pain on the bottom part of my right ribs. I am hoping is the anxiety.
As I told you before I have drank alcohol for a long time, since college only on the weekends, not on a daily basis and don't need it or depend on it but I guess I have abused its use socially, for a very long period o time (I am 36 now) we would get together with friends and watch soccer games every saturday and drink a lot of beers

Thank you for your opinion
Answered by Dr. Poorna Chandra K.S 14 hours later
Hi again.

GGT is a liver enzyme whose production is induced by many drugs including alcohol.

GGT per se does not quantify the liver injury but can reflect the oxidative stress on the body.

So keep abstaining and take a nutritious food and GGT will come down.

You really do not have to worry about the GGT levels as long as you are staying away from alcohol.

Please do not worry, GGT levels will become normal.

I do not see any valid reason for undergoing liver scan.

Please wait for a month or so, Everything will be fine.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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